Does Your Lover Actually Love You?


Kyle Benson

Sometimes we become attracted to people and date individuals who treat us poorly. I once dated a woman who would shame me for acting needy. She would tell me I was crazy, and it made me feel humiliated and worthless. It sucked. But as I pointed out in Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Suck, our attachment needs cause us to be insecure when they are not met. They cause us to behave in crazy ways, because we’re trying to find security.

Unfortunately, some individuals don’t value our needs. Sometimes they neglect us. If you’re an anxious person, this can cause you to frantically dive into a toxic relationship, unconsciously drowning yourself in a love that can make you hate yourself later on as you invest more and more in the relationships, only to get a little back in return

Getting our needs met in a relationship is complicated. Due to conflicting emotional blueprints, using vulnerable communication doesn’t always immediately solve a problem.  But there comes a time in every relationship where you will decide if the woman is actually going to help you get your needs met and make you happy, or if you’re going to have to move on.

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Two ways to get your detached spouse more emotionally involved


Darren Wilk

Many of the calls we receive in our office for relationship help come from people who are tired of doing all the work in their marriage, and a decade ago we would have been able to generalize that the person making that call was usually the female in the relationship.  But regardless of which gender makes the call, they have asked their partners over and over again to get into gear and take more responsibility for the relationship. The response some of them get is “Why? There is really not much wrong here, and anyways, we can fix it on our own without help”.  By the way, many people who come into counseling after their partner has left them say “I don’t know what happened. I thought everything was okay”.  Does this sound familiar?

So what do we do with the gender differences today?  Some still apply.  Many men typically don’t seek outside help for their relationships for the same reason that many men won’t ask for directions. We hate not being able to figure something out on our own. Men, by nature, are trained and socialized to be independent and self-sufficient. We would rather learn from doing than from discussing. This does not make it right, and the new millennial’s are certainly changing this trend as the social culture evolves.

Many studies on gender segregation in children have discovered significant differences in how girls and boys play.   Think about this the next time you’re watching children at a playground. The boys are rarely sitting around talking. They’re doing something active.

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Managing vs. Resolving Conflict in Relationships: The Blueprints for Success


Dr. Marni Feuerman

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman’s research proves that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. These may be things like personality traits your partner has that rub you the wrong way, or long-standing issues around spending and saving money. Their research findings emphasize the idea that couples must learn to manage conflict rather than avoid or attempt to eliminate it.

Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth. Let’s look at three “conflict blueprints” to help you and your partner constructively manage conflict around unsolvable problems.

Conflict Blueprint #1: Current Conflicts

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Love and Contempt


Steven Stosny

It’s so easy to go from one to the other.

Contempt in love relationships occurs at the end of a long chain of resentment, caused by accumulated perceptions of unfairness. Contempt makes partners seem more like opponents than loved ones. They see their problems resulting not from the way they interact or regulate emotions. Rather, the problem is characterological, they’re immoral, selfish, unstable, or stupid—there’s something wrong with them. Contempt sends people to the Internet to diagnose their partners with various personality disorders. The desire to diagnose a partner typically indicates a level of contempt that, unabated, spells doom for the relationship. It’s hard to be compassionate, kind, and loving to someone you hold in contempt, and it’s equally hard to be compassionate, kind, and loving to someone who holds you in contempt. A relationship in contempt is like a patient on life support. Without heroic intervention, it will die.

How to Know that You Have Contempt for Your Partner

Contempt is present when you use (or at least think) contemptuous attributions such as, lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, crazy, narcissistic, borderline, and so on.

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Mini habits to soothe your child’s anxiety


Amberlee L. Peterson

Every child experiences it, but most don’t know how to handle it.

He was 5 years old, and he still couldn’t use the toilet. This was a daily struggle for my cousin and her little boy as they tried everything they could think of to get him potty trained. It was months and months of searching for solutions. And although there ended up being multiple factors in why this was such a challenge for him, along the way my cousin discovered a surprising factor they hadn’t expected: her little boy had anxiety.

Every child will experience anxiety to some extent, and the effects of it can pop up in surprising ways. Watching a scary movie and going to school for the first time are enough to give everyone a dose of it. But about one in eight children experience anxiety disorders. If you suspect your child has an anxiety disorder, you’ll want to seek professional help. But for smaller times when you sense your child’s anxiety building, specialists recommend these mini habits to help you all calm down together.

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Be still and know that I am God: 10 ways to recognize God’s power in times of trouble


The Bible verse Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” When we face difficulties in our life that would make it seem as if we are on a ship being tossed upon a stormy sea, how exactly can we be still while a storm rages around us?

Every time a trial comes to me or my family, I think of the words from the Bible in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God,” and I am often comforted. Sometimes, though, I wonder just what it means to be still and what exactly I need to do to make that happen.

When we face difficulties in our life that would make it seem as if we are on a ship being tossed upon a stormy sea, how exactly can we be still and a strength to our family while a storm rages around us? As I looked up the definition of still in the online Merriam Webster Dictionary, not only was I enlightened when I learned the definition for still, but learned very valuable lessons from its synonyms as well.

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Asserting Your Needs is Sexy, Not Needy


Kyle Benson

Far too often I work with guys that feel like they get walked on in their dating life. They’re unsure if the person they like reciprocates those feelings back. Most of these guys struggle in their dating lives because they choose not to assert themselves in fear of being rejected, or being deemed unmanly for seeming needy. Sometimes they lack the ability to recognize their emotions in a healthy way.

I can relate. I used to date girls that would make me feel insecure. Instead of telling them directly what made me feel insecure, I acted in manipulative ways to get my needs met.  This is also known as Protest Behavior. This is unhealthy, and leads to further dysfunction in a relationship. The biggest issue in most relationships is communication and how we choose to get our needs met. Let’s start off by sharing some stories about two guys.

Scenario 1:

After a few dates with Kara, Jon felt very confused. The very first date was at a local dive bar where they sung karaoke and made friends with some of the elderly folks, who asked if they were married.

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Right And Wrong Parenting


A father’s influence goes to the fourth generation after him. Whitney Houston’s parents Emily and John Houston divorced when she was at kindergarten. Together with her lover, Bobby Brown, Whitney smoked crack in the presence of their 5-year-old daughter Bobbi Kristina. At 22 Bobbi died of drug abuse. Her mother Whitney died at 48 on similar grounds. Great careers, and more importantly, great lives were thus lost due to weak parenting.

💡While there is little you can do about your ancestors, there is a lot that you can do about your descendants. One thing that prevents a man from being a good father is that he hasn’t completed being a boy. To be in your children’s memory tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today. Having children doesn’t make you a father. Raising them (well) does.

💡There are many of us who were raised up in unstable families but we don’t have to pass it on to our children. We don’t have to fight in the presence of our children. We can choose to shield their emotions from our disputes as adults. To a large extent, you are a product of your early relationships.

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Why Siblings Fight (And Why We All Fight Like Siblings)


Kelly Flanagan

Siblings fight because they assume love is a limited resource. They assume they have to compete for caring. In other words, siblings are just like the rest of us…

family conflict

I was brutal to my siblings.

I beat up on my little brother’s shoulder and I beat up on my little sister’s heart. When we were all grown and had gone our separate ways, I realized what I’d done, and I started to beat up on myself. I felt guilty about being a bully and sad about the lost opportunity to be their friend.

Even after they accepted my apology, I couldn’t forgive myself.

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7 Lessons from 10 Years of Coaching People Through Depression and Heartbreak

7 Lessons from 10 Years of Coaching People Through Depression and Heartbreak


Marc Chernoff

There are wounds that never show on our bodies that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.  Depression and heartbreak are two such wounds.  I know, from experience.

About a decade ago, in quick succession, Angel and I dealt with several significant, back-to-back losses and life changes, including: losing Angel’s brother, Todd, to suicide, losing our mutual best friend, Josh, to cardiac arrest, and losing our home in the downturn of the economy.  The pain inflicted by each of these experiences was absolutely brutal, and enduring them one after another broke our hearts and knocked us both into a moderate state of depression.  There was a long stretch of time when we shut out the world, shut out each other, and avoided our loved ones who were grieving alongside us.

Luckily, with the right support, and the gradual restoration of our inner resolve, we pushed forward, stronger and with a greater respect for life.  And while there were many intricate steps to our recovery process that I’m leaving out here, the outcome of our journey ultimately led us to the work we do today, over a decade later.  Through our course and coaching we have spent the better part of the past ten years leveraging our lessons learned to guide amazing human beings through the process of coping with significant bouts of depression and heartbreak (and other forms of adversity).  The work has been anything but easy, but it’s also been incredibly rewarding and life-changing—it has undoubtedly been the most significant silver lining of the painful losses and life changes we were forced to endure.

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